Market Research Firms: Speed vs. Quality
February 21, 2019Joey Doney Martin Eichholz, PhD
Kelton's Martin Eichholz and Joey Doney give their take on whether speed should win out over quality when it comes to market research firms and projects.
These days, you can’t search “market research firms” or browse through the leading market research industry websites and blogs without reading about speed, automation, agility, simplicity, and DIY. A typical example from a recent #NewMR newsletter proclaims that “The key drivers in descending order of importance are: 1) speed, 2) ease of use, 3) price, and 4) quality.” We couldn’t disagree more with this new prioritization. In an age where we’re able to move faster than ever before, quality should be the market research industry’s top priority – not the other way around.
There are many different approaches to research, and agile and automated offerings are certainly beneficial in some contexts. But just because these new tools can contribute to cost savings and quicker timelines doesn’t mean they’re sure to deliver the best results in all cases. More often than not, it’s the opposite – the long-term value of a quality insights project almost always outweighs the short-term benefits of cost savings from a fast, easier, or cheaper route. When it comes to insights work, you truly do get what you pay for.
While many insights companies have chosen to prioritize speed over quality, the Kelton team has spent more than a decade building a brand positioned primarily around quality regardless of the scope of the project in question. Our reasoning for this is simple: quality builds trust, and trust fosters long term client relationships and meaningful outcomes. We always complete our projects as quickly as possible, but never at the expense of actionable deliverables that solve concrete problems and motivate change. To us, “quality” means delivering to the client not only the things they ask for but also the things they didn’t even know they needed.
To accomplish this level of quality, everything needs to come together: a well-trained and experienced team; a creative process that looks beyond the status quo; the willingness to be open about unanticipated challenges and to change approach; and, of course, great storytelling and deliverables that are highly tailored to the specific needs of each audience. This approach has helped some of the world’s biggest and best-loved brands tackle the very meaty, strategic business challenges that require and benefit from quality work.
If there’s a growing perception among marketers that speed and ease should outweigh all other considerations, it merely demonstrates the need to provide clients with a comprehensive perspective on what value really looks like when it comes to their investment in research. Leaders throughout the market research industry have a responsibility to distinguish between the minority of projects where speed is truly the crucial factor, and the vast majority where client interests would be better served by focusing on long-term results. This view – rooted in long-term growth potential for the client’s business rather than a slight bump in next quarter’s numbers – restores quality to its proper place as the most important element to pursue in a research project.